Do Sound Labs play deep bass in large rooms?

I realize that the marketing data shows bass down into the 25hz + region, and that it is confirmed by some reviews. Yet my room is large 21x23x17'high. Will I get reasonable bass with 400WPC into 4 ohms of solid state, an amp with a damping factor in excess of 1600?
Realizing that bass radiates differently than high frequencies, I wonder about the bass, and the dynamic capabilities of this wonderful speaker in such a large environment. Having been smitten some years ago with the Quad, but not liking its limitations in bass and dynamics, I have since owned the ML Prodigy, obviously not full range Electrostatic. Anyone with similar room size and the A-1 or the M-1, which are supposed to be the same panel, with different wood trim; you are welcome to describe your results and experiences.
You should be able to achieve good bass performance in a room of that size. Specified frequency response is down to 28 Hz with the M-1 and A-1, while the U-1 goes a few Hz lower due to the rigid steel frame. Performance in one's room will be determined by placement and furnishings as well.

The room dimensions should allow placement several feet out from the wall behind the speakers. The speakers can be located fairly close to the sidewalls due to nulls which occur on the sides as a result of dipole cancellation. Room treatment may be as simple as some large plants or other items to diffuse the sound where first reflections occur. Corner bass traps may be desirable. Absorption behind the speakers can enhance bass response by virtue of reducing dipole cancellation.

I have heard a U-1/UB-1 system in a room approximately 30'Lx20'Wx14'H on several occasions, and the experience is remarkable. The UB-1 subwoofers extend response down to the low to mid teens but are not essential.

I don't know if you'll hear any difference between the M-1 and A-1. They use similar panels, though not interchangeable, and everything else is the same except the frames and trim. Some people prefer the A-1 due to the generous use of wood, which they can select at time of ordering. The U-1 is a different beast altogether, with its 3" tubular steel frame which grabs hold of the (similar) panel and enables more pinpoint imaging and a bit more bass extension, allowing the speakers to sonically disappear even more so. But the M-1s and A-1s are no slouch!

The amplifier you describe may well be adequate. How much power it puts out into 16 ohms may be of interest with regards to the bass, as the impedance of the speaker is high in this region. If you care to say what the amplifier is, or email me offline, I'll be happy to comment on its suitability. I am a Sound Lab dealer (located in the Chicago area) and am somewhat familiar with which amplifiers work well. Meanwhile, if you have other questions, please feel free to ask.

Best of luck!

Brian Walsh
i have owned the U1s with 300 watt tube research monos. they had plenty of bass. the dynamics are awsome large or small room. they will play plenty loud for me. i would not run ss with them though. they love powerful tubes. if you liten real loud they would not be the speaker for you though. they do have limitations as the panels will rattle if overdriven. the midrange is breathtaking as well.
Lrsky -

Brian of Essential Audio has done a superb job of covering the, ah, essentials...

The short answer to your question is, yes indeed, big Sound Labs will do bass in your room.

Sound Lab's specs may even be a bit conservative as far as bass extension goes. I have two M-1 customers with access to measuring equipment who claim to measure the -3 dB point in their rooms at 22 and 24 Hz respectively. I've heard of Ultimate 1's measuring -3 dB at 19 Hz.

The backplates have a 4-position bass control, which can be set at +3, 0, -3, and -6. Most M-1 owners that I know of have theirs set at -3. My room is 13 by 31 feet so it's not much smaller than yours in floor area (though my ceilings are only 9 feet, but that won't make much difference as the Sound Labs don't significantly interact with the ceiling). Anyway, on my Sound Labs the bass control settings range between 0 and -6, depending on which amplifiers I'm using.

Like Brian, I'm curious about your amplifiers. The highest damping factor amplifiers I have sound best with the bass control set at 0, but other aspects of amplifier voicing come into play as well.

While it's true that bass and treble propagate differently, with the Sound Labs you have essentially uniform coverage throughout the listening area because their radiation pattern is pretty much the same up and down the spectrum. So unless you stick your head up above the height of the panels (and lose the highs), they will sound good from anywhere in the room. The only room I've ever heard Sound Labs sound bad in was an extremely flimsily-built hotel room in Las Vegas at CES 2002. The room's walls were flexing and resonating, making the bass extremely muddy (nope, the volume level wasn't very high). None of the speakers in upper floor rooms at that hotel sounded good, at least not in the bass. With that one highly unusual exception, Sound Labs are in my experience much easier to get to sound good in a room than are most speakers. Usually, they sound great where you first plop 'em down; subsequent fine-tuning yields real improvements, but not drastic transformations.

Also, having owned both M-1's and A-1's, I can say that sonically they are identical. As Brian notes, there is a definite step up in some areas as you go to the Ultimates.

I'd be glad to take a shot at any other questions you might have.

Best wishes,

While I don't think I'll ever be able to afford Sound Labs. Man, judging by the way people talk about them, I just gotta hear them!
If you can't afford them, don't listen. The upgrade bug will haunt you for the next 10 years. They are that good. may be getting to me also Sid!
I own the Ultimate One Soundlabs and have them in a room larger that yours. Last week the two visitors listening with me remarked how wonderful my overall dynamics and bass extension was.

While I am not likely to persuade them to change to U-1 Soundlabs over the experience, they were impressed. One of these guys owns Dynaudio Evidence Temptations powered by ARC Ref 600 Mk 3 mono blocks and a Walker Turntable. The other has big Wilson‘s powered by BAT and an SME turntable.

Point being, big Soundlabs are in the running as an ultimate speaker and based on their retail price, one of the more economically priced high end products.

As for amps, I agree with the comment about running tubes. Mine are powered by Wolcott 220 watt mono blocks (EL-34 based) and will produce peaks of 99 to 101 DB at 13 feet with both CD and LP.

You can click on “system” beside my name if you wish to view the A-1 and Ultimate Ones. I have images of my old and new system both posted at that link.

Don’t be afraid to contact me. I am willing to offer you help if you are in need.
Ha, thanks Sid. Don't try this, it's too good, you'll like it too much. Sounds like a drug dealer trying to delude himself into believeing he has a conscience. Of course, I only want to hear them more now.